Categories of Suspense: Romantic Relationship Suspense

I’m almost finished with this min–series of suspense categories, as outlined by T. Macdonald Skillman in her book, WRITING THE THRILLER. Today’s topic is Romantic Relationship Suspense.

This category usually has a bit of a gothic twist to it. The American Heritage Dictionary defines gothic as “a style of fiction that emphasizes the grotesque, mysterious, and desolate.” Skillman brings up REBECCA by Daphne Du Maurier as an example of romantic suspense with a gothic twist. In these types of books, the ending is definitely in doubt: the protagonist might prevail, but then again, she might not.

The major difference between a straight romance and romantic suspense, says Skillman, is: “The relationship that exists–no matter how passionate–will not be the focus of the book,” and the overwhelming majority of the protagonists are women.  One exception from Hollywood is FATAL ATTRACTION. Other titles in the category include SEE JANE RUN by Joy Fielding, THE CIRCULAR STAIRCASE by Mary Roberts Rinehart, and HEARTBREAKER by Karen Robards.

This isn’t my favorite genre, but I’ll admit I loved the book REBECCA. The movie was good, too, despite the changed ending. For what it’s worth,

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